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Course Description

When crafting one’s own story, writers often draw from their memories, experiences, and research to focus on specific moments, an era, or themes. In this intensive writing course, you will read a variety of examples of memoir and develop strategies to write your own stories.

A combination of lectures, discussions, workshopping, and writing exercises will help you learn about and practice applying literary tools and techniques from creative non-fiction, fiction, and poetry to memoir writing. We will experiment with different elements of craft, such as the journey of a story, narrative voice, and literary structures. As a group, we will consider the implicit challenges and ethical implications of writing memoir.

Upon completion of the course, you will have written and revised two pieces of writing (a flash memoir and a longer memoir story). While this course is not focused on planning out a book-length memoir or autobiography, the skills you develop in the course can be applied to a longer manuscript.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Respond to a variety of readings from published authors to investigate memoir as a genre
  • Explain different approaches to the journey of a piece of memoir and apply one to your own writing
  • Incorporate various literary devices, including dialogue, description, character development, imagery, sound, and rhythm, into your memoir writing
  • Participate in substantive discussions of memoir writing and approaches to form and style to share your learnings with other students and learn from others
  • Engage in a writing practice with other writers to experiment with your writing style and your role as a narrator
  • Provide supportive feedback to others and demonstrate the application of feedback provided through workshopping your work
  • Identify the implicit challenges inherent in writing true stories and the ethics of memoir
  • Demonstrate the use of memoir styles and techniques in your own writing by creating and revising a portfolio of writing

Course Topics

  • What Is Memoir? What Is Your Story?
  • How Will You Tell Your Story?: Structures, Containers, Vessels
  • What Is Your Role as Narrator?
  • What Is the Journey of Your Story?
  • Tools from Fiction: Characterization, Dialogue, Plot
  • Tools from Poetry: Sound, Rhythm, Imagery, Tone
  • The Revision Process
  • Ethics, Honesty, Publishing, and the Writing Life

Additional Requirements

  • This course is intended for adult learners who are at least 18 years of age.
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.
  • You may take this as an individual course.
  • You do not have to register in the Creative Writing Certificate to take this course.


Assessment Item Weight
Discussion and Workshop Participation 30%
Flash Memoir 20%
Long-Form Memoir 20%
Final Portfolio 30%
Total 100%

Please note the course assessment is subject to change.

Sponsoring Partner

School of English and Theatre Studies, College of Arts

Applies Toward the Following Certificate

Creative Writing Certificate Elective Course, pending approval from the Senate Committee on Non-Degree Studies.


Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.

Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Writing your own Story
Remote Instruction
6:30PM to 9:00PM
May 03, 2023 to June 21, 2023
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
  • Virtual
Delivery Options
Remote Instruction  
Course Fee(s)
Tuition Fee $549.00
Potential Discount(s)
  • Anna Lee-Popham
Section Notes

Course registration closes April 10, 2023.

This course uses CourseLink, the University of Guelph’s Learning Management System, and the video conferencing tool, Zoom. Please ensure you have the technical requirements to participate in the course.

Students will be given access to CourseLink prior to the start of the course date.

This course requires preparation prior to the first live online class. Details will be provided in the course outline in CourseLink.

You are required to attend all scheduled online synchronous (live online) sessions.

Assignments may be due after the final live online class date. Details will be provided in the course outline.

Please ensure that you are familiar with the Withdrawal, Transfer and Refund policy – Continuing Education Courses prior to registering for the course.

If you are new to online learning, we encourage you to visit our Online Learning at UofG resource page.

This course does not require the purchase of any textbooks.

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